weather icon Clear

Collective bargaining bill changes give governor final word on wages, benefits

Updated May 30, 2019 - 9:24 pm

CARSON CITY — State workers would have the right to collectively bargain under a newly amended proposal, but with a catch.

Under the proposed changes to Senate Bill 135, which were discussed in a late-night hearing Wednesday in the Legislature, the more than 20,000 state workers in Nevada would be able to negotiate for wages and benefits, but the governor would still have the final word.

The new language would give the executive branch the authority to fund state workers salaries and wage rates at any level that the “Governor deems appropriate,” regardless of what the bargaining were to produce.

Harry Schiffman, President of AFSCME Local 4041, which represent 17,000 state workers in Nevada, said in a statement that state workers are “watching SB135 closely because after years of organizing, we are ready for collective bargaining rights and the affirmation of the dignity of our work and the dignity of state workers.”

“When public service workers have collective bargaining, they often negotiate over things to improve services and resources so they can do their job; SB135 allows Nevada state employees to do just that. It’s an historic step for state employees in Nevada, and we look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature in the years to come to make any necessary improvements,” Schiffman added.

The amended bill was heard late Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee. It took no action on the bill.

Funding bill heard

Lawmakers worked past midnight Wednesday to hear bills, move them out of committees and to floor votes. In other action:

A reworked Senate Bill 551, an education funding bill that allocates $98 million to school programs by extending the state’s business payroll tax at current rates, got a late-night hearing Wednesday before the Senate Finance Committee. Revisions moved allocations around for school safety, pre-kindergarten and Read by 3 programs, and initiatives for at-risk students and English learners.

The bill drew criticism at the hearing not for its cost but for concerns among Republicans and tax hawks who say the Democrat-backed plan violates a constitutional requirement for a two-thirds majority vote to approve tax measures.

If the bill passes without that majority, “then we’ve set the precedent going forward that the Legislature acknowledges that a two-thirds wasn’t necessary, and that carries weight in the courts, and it carries weight going forward,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, who presented the bill, called any constitutional questions “illusory” and said they “don’t exist. They’re moot. They just don’t.”

The Legislative Counsel Bureau, in an opinion released May 8, said that extending an existing tax at the same rate is not the same as a tax increase, which under the constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of the Legislature.

Also, the Assembly passed Assembly Bill 533, which would create Sisolak’s promised Cannabis Compliance Board to overhaul regulatory duties. The bill passed on a 39-1 vote, with Assemblyman Al Kramer, R-Carson City, as the only “no” vote.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Sisolak signs public records reform bill into law

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill that strengthens Nevada’s public records law, making it easier and cheaper for people to get public records and providing for fines if public agencies willfully flout the law.